In this article:
- Cannon Beach, Oregon, is just one of the beautiful towns along the state’s coastline. However, this quaint community has a terrifying secret: there’s a blood-drenched mummy that terrorizes a specific stretch of Highway 101.
- The legend of the Bandage Man is believed to have started around the 1950s. He’s a former logger that was mutilated in a horrible sawmill accident, turning him into the monstrosity that he is today.
- The Bandage Man is said to hop into the backs of open-top vehicles and terrify drivers, dine on the flesh of cats and dogs, and even kill people.
If you take the drive from Portland, Oregon, to the coastal town of Cannon Beach, you’ll spend most of your time winding along Highway 26. This road is lined on either side with towering firs and pines, creating the sense that you’re descending deeper and deeper into the forest as you drive. However, as you approach the coast, a thick fog descends upon the road right before you turn onto Highway 101 toward the north entrance to Cannon Beach.
This fog, rolling in from the ocean, gives this stretch of road an eerie feel and makes it difficult to see further than five feet in front of you. An acute sense may wash over some part of your mind that anything could jump out from those thick woods at any moment and you would be completely unaware until the very last second. If you ask some residents of Cannon Beach, Oregon, this exact thing has happened to them. And whatever jumped out of the woods has become known as the Bandage Man.
I recently took a trip to Cannon Beach to speak to some of the local residents about the Bandage Man and explore the region he’s said to inhabit, and it seemed as if everyone in this small community has heard this legend. In this article, I’ll discuss the story of the Bandage Man of Cannon Beach and what I learned from visiting his hometown.
As a side note, don’t let the Bandage Man deter you from visiting Cannon Beach if you’re in the region. This small town is home to a friendly community, tons of great restaurants and stores, and a gorgeous beach presided over by the magnificent Haystack Rock.
The Origins of the Bandage Man
If you were thinking that the Bandage Man sounds a whole lot like a mummy, you would be correct. However, apparently, mummies aren’t reserved for the faraway crypts of Egypt. They can haunt the roads of western Oregon as well.
According to legend, sightings of the Bandage Man began around the 1950s or 1960s. Around this time, people started to report that a man covered in bloody bandages was terrorizing the locals, jumping on the backs of their cars and killing off their pets.
All of these occurrences took place on the “old road” section of Highway 101, the northernmost road in Cannon Beach that leads to the junction of Highway 26. Before long, driving along this stretch of road at night became a rite of passage for local teens who had just gotten their licenses. Unsurprisingly, this area became known as “Bandage Man Road” by locals.
According to most versions of the story, the Bandage Man was a logger who was caught in a terrible accident at a sawmill. After the Bandage Man was severely cut up, he was picked up by an ambulance that was going to bring him to a hospital. However, on the way there, the ambulance was hit by a landslide and toppled down a hill. When the authorities came to the wreckage, the Bandage man was nowhere to be found.
Other versions of the story claim that the Bandage Man was a firefighter who was scorched while trying to put out a house fire or even an electrician who was badly electrocuted. Most of the time, though, the Bandage Man is said to have been a logger. This is probably because the logging industry in Oregon was extremely prominent throughout the 1900s.
Regardless of how the Bandage man was maimed, he is now believed to roam the woods around Cannon Beach, haunting, terrorizing, and even murdering locals and tourists alike.
Don’t Drive at Night
Most stories about encounters with the Bandage Man follow a similar pattern. They usually involve teenagers driving around the stretch of road on Highway 101 between the northern entrance to Cannon Beach and the junction with Highway 26. The encounters usually take place at night and the Bandage Man seems to prefer open-top vehicles.
Usually, someone is driving around in a pickup truck or a convertible when they start smelling the scent of rotting flesh. Curious as to where the strange scent is coming from, they turn around and look toward the back of the vehicle. It is only then that they realize they have a hitchhiker: the Bandage Man.
These unlucky teens are then greeted by the sight of a man covered from head to toe in blood-drenched bandages. Often, he is staring directly at them or even pounding on the back of the car. Sometimes, it seems as if he’s just looking for a ride as he’ll mysteriously disappear before reaching the town center.
But, the Bandage man is far from harmless. He’s said to feed on cats, dogs, and rabbits. People throughout the community have blamed the disappearance of their pets on this demonic entity. Some have even claimed that he’s killed humans before.
Whatever you choose to believe about the Bandage Man, I would suggest keeping your wits about you when driving on Highway 101 at night.
Bandage Man Reported Sighting and Pranks
It’s hard to track down actual eyewitness accounts of the Bandage Man; however, if you sit in a Cannon Beach bar long enough, you’ll probably encounter someone who claims that they’ve seen him. It is quite possible that many of these sightings were hoaxes, though, considering Bandage Man pranks were rather common in the 1960s.
In one account, a man in the ‘60s played a prank on his friend by dressing up as the Bandage Man and hopping in the back of his truck one evening. The man in the truck freaked out and started doing donuts in the gravel to try to shake the “Bandage Man” off the bed of his truck. Things got so serious that the man nearly wrecked his truck.
Others have claimed that the Bandage Man has invaded their homes. I was able to find an account on Reddit that claimed the Bandage Man may have come into their bedroom while they were sleeping:
I specifically like the part of the account where they express their disapproval of the Bandage Man for being so wasteful with toilet paper. Hopefully, this murderous phantom will take some time to reconsider his carbon footprint.
So, what are the chances that you’ll be torn to shreds by a blood-soaked mummy if you visit Cannon Beach? If you ask me, pretty low. And, as I mentioned near the beginning of this article, Cannon Beach is a beautiful area full of great people and natural beauty. But, still, if you do choose to visit, keep your head on a swivel when driving on Highway 101 at night. The Bandage Man might just be lurking.
I’d like to offer a special thanks to the staff of the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum for helping me track down information on the Bandage Man legend. If you’re ever in Cannon Beach, make sure to visit the museum and leave a donation!